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The Parching of China> Backgrounder
UPDATED: May 17, 2009 NO. 20 MAY 21, 2009
China's Actions for Disaster Prevention and Reduction



2. Building up a Three-dimensional Monitoring System and Enhancing Disaster Monitoring, Early Warning and Forecasting Capability

China is building a three-dimensional natural disaster monitoring system, including land monitoring, ocean and ocean-bed observation, and space-air-ground observation. A disaster monitoring, early warning and forecasting system has taken initial shape.

—Disaster remote-sensing monitoring system. Small satellites named Constellation A and Constellation B for environmental disaster-reduction monitoring have been launched. A business application system by using the disaster-reduction satellite has taken shape, providing advanced technological support to remote-sensing monitoring, evaluation of and decision-making for disaster reduction.

—Meteorological early warning and forecasting system. Meteorological satellites FY-1, FY-2 and FY-3 have been put into orbit. A new generation of weather radar installations, totaling 146, has been developed. Ninety-one high-altitude meteorological stations equipped with L-band upper-air meteorological sounding system have been established, and 25,420 regional meteorological observation stations are in operation. Special meteorological observation networks have been preliminarily built for studies of atmospheric elements, acid rain, sandstorms, thunder and lightning and agricultural and transportation meteorology. A comparatively complete data forecasting system has been built for early warning of imminent disastrous weather. A meteorological early warning information release platform covering both urban and rural communities has been established, releasing relevant information through radio, television, newspaper, cell-phone and the Internet.

—Hydrological monitoring and flood early warning and forecasting system. A hydrological monitoring network composed of 3,171 hydrological stations, 1,244 gauging stations, 14,602 precipitation stations, 61 hydrological experiment stations and 12,683 groundwater observation wells has been completed. A flood early warning and forecasting system, ground water monitoring system, water resources management system and hydrological data system have been established.

—Earthquake monitoring and forecasting system. China has built 937 fixed seismic stations and over 1,000 mobile seismic stations, enabling China to be capable of quasi-real-time monitoring of earthquakes above 3 on the Richter scale. In addition, 1,300 earthquake precursor observation stations have been established, as well as a mobile observation network composed of over 4,000 mobile observation stations. Seismological forecasting and monitoring systems at both national and provincial levels have taken initial shape. A high-speed seismic data network composed of 700 information nodes has been built. A cell-phone message service to provide timely earthquake reporting has been launched.

—Geological disaster monitoring system. Since 2003, meteorological early warning of geological disasters has been in place. Over 120,000 places with potential geological hazards are now covered by this system. Also practiced in those places is that masses are involved in disaster monitoring and prevention. A special landslide monitoring network at the Three Gorges Reservoir area, and land subsidence monitoring networks in Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin have been largely completed.

—Environment monitoring and early warning system. Work on environment quality monitoring, pollutant monitoring, environment early warning and forecasting and unexpected environmental accidents monitoring has been carried out for objective observation of the pollution of surface, ground and ocean water, as well as air, noise, solid waste and radiation pollution. The newly launched HJ-1 environmental satellites A and B carry out efficient, macroscopic and real-time ecological monitoring and evaluation. A preliminary air-ground environment monitoring structure has been built. To date, there are altogether 2,399 environment monitoring stations with 49,335 technicians in China.

—Wild animal epidemic sources and disease monitoring and early warning system. A national wild animal epidemic sources and disease monitoring network has been established, with 350 observation stations at the national level, 768 at the provincial level and over 1,400 at the county level in major natural habitats of migratory birds and other wildlife. Thus, a wild animal epidemic sources and disease monitoring and early warning system has been founded, comprising national, provincial and county levels.

—Plant disease and insect pest monitoring and reporting system. A crop pests and disease monitoring and reporting network composed of over 3,000 observation stations and a grassland rodent and insect pest monitoring and reporting network composed of more than 240 observation stations have been established. The categories of crop pests covered by the national monitoring and reporting system have increased from 15 in the early 1990s to 26 at present. The interval of reporting on major plant diseases and insect pests has been reduced from 10 days to one week. Also established is a forest pest monitoring and reporting network composed of over 2,500 observation stations at the national, county and township (town) levels. It now covers the most dangerous and frequently occurring forest pests in 35 categories.

—Marine disaster forecasting system. Oceanographic observation instruments, equipment and facilities have been renovated. Offshore observation capacity has been enhanced greatly. Buoy observation and cross-sectional survey abilities have been improved as a whole. A batch of marine observation stations has been constructed or renovated. Upgrading of real-time communication system has been completed at some key observation stations. An observation and evaluation system for sea-air interaction and ocean climate changes has been developed for ocean disaster monitoring closely related to climate changes such as sea level rise, coastal erosion, seawater intrusion and saline tide.

—Forest and grassland fire early warning and monitoring system. The country's three-dimensional monitoring system for forest and grassland fires, including monitoring by satellite remote sensing, airplane cruise flight, video monitoring, watching on duty and ground detection, has been improved. A graded forest fire early warning and response system and a fire risk evaluation system have been primarily established.

—Sandstorm monitoring and evaluation system. Efforts have been put into building a satellite remote sensing system for sandstorm monitoring and evaluation, as well as a cell-phone message network. Ground observation points have been set up in major sandstorm-stricken areas of north China at the national, provincial, municipal and county levels so as to form a sandstorm monitoring network covering the whole of north China.

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